Posted on April 28, 2019 at 04.09 PM
At the end of last month I attended the Put It To The People March for Brexit, protesting against the current state of things and to get a people's vote for another say on Brexit. I was there to take part (my first time on a protest march) but also to observe and document what was going on. Another protest I went to observe (but not participate in) was organised by Extinction Rebellion, protesting about the adverse effects of climage change and how we need to take action now.
The Brexit protest was massive, millions of people marched including some celebrities (I managed to capture arch remainer Professor Brian Cox). Helicopters were following the route, there was singing, waving, dancing, placards and costumes. It felt to me more of a protest about Brexit in general. This became more apparent from the messages on the placards (some of which were funny and creative). The route went from Hyde Park, along Piccadilly all the way down to Trafalgar Square. Due to the large numbers of people and the constantly mobile crowd it was difficult to capture everything I wanted to.
This month organised climate change protestors (Extinction Rebellion) were in several different areas of central London for one week, namely Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Piccadilly Circus. I went to observe them at Oxford Circus and Parliament Square on their 4th day of protest. The police had already removed many protestors (via arrests) the previous day and early that morning so the numbers and activity was subdued. The protestors had been using a pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus and actor Emma Thompson visited to make a speech. The boat has already been confiscated by the police. Whilst I was there police continued to arrest people and physically remove them.
Aside from the politics of the situation, my interest was to document the human interactions and prescence of individuals as they present their messages. It was also interesting to observe and document how creatively the protest message was communicated. Going beyond standard wording, there was wit and satire, costumes and colours everywhere.